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Local Representatives Celebrate “Blue Ribbon” Schools

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East Lyme High School and Oakdale School Among Only Four Schools in Connecticut Honored with National Award

 
HARTFORDState Representatives Holly Cheeseman (R-37), Kathleen McCarty (R-38) and Mike France (R-42) are expressing pride in two local schools that were recently awarded the prestigious National Blue Ribbon distinction.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded only four schools in Connecticut with the 2017 National Blue Ribbon: East Lyme High School, Oakdale Pre K – 5 School in Montville, Thomas W. Mahan School in Norwich and Morris Street School in Danbury. These schools were selected for their outstanding overall achievements recognized by Connecticut’s Next Generation Accountability System. The National Blue Ribbon Program distinguishes schools in two categories — Exemplary High Performing and Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing. East Lyme High School and Oakdale School were both identified as High Performing.

“Three of Connecticut’s four 2017 National Blue Ribbon Schools are located in New London County,” said Rep. Cheeseman, member of the Legislative Higher Education & Employment Advancement Committee. “I am so proud to live, work and serve Southeastern Connecticut. Our esteemed school systems truly deserve this recognition for all the hard work they dedicate to our youth. I congratulate East Lyme High School and know that the parents of my district must feel very confident that their children are being prepared to continue their schooling and/or begin their careers with the best possible education. More than 85 percent of East Lyme High School students participate in school-sponsored activities, teams, and clubs designed to foster important school community connections and academically reports show a four-year graduation rate of 98 percent.”

“Montville is delighted to have such an extraordinary elementary school, especially with their strong language arts and mathematics programs,” said Rep. McCarty, member of the Legislative Education Committee. “Both the teachers and administrative staff at Oakdale School are making an incredible difference in helping our children to succeed in all aspects of academics and activities, as well as deepen an interest in learning.”

“Oakdale School recognizes that the need for a quality education starts young,” said Rep. France. “They are providing a fantastic foundation on which our students can build the rest of their academic and professional lives. Congratulations to Oakdale School; thank you for going above and beyond to inspire your students.”

The legislators stressed the need to continue funding these schools so that they can remain successful well into the future – something that they said is now at risk thanks to the governor’s veto of the bipartisan budget. They are now calling for a legislative override of the veto.

“These achievements prove that we must protect education funding in our state,” said Rep. Cheeseman. “Unfortunately Governor Malloy vetoed the bipartisan budget last week, pushing the Legislature back to square one on solving the budget crisis. There is a chance, however, that the Legislature can vote to overrule his veto and enact the budget. I hope our majority leaders will see how necessary our budget, which preserves education funding, is to Connecticut and call the Legislature back to take this vote.”

“It is a shame that on the first year Montville receives this national distinction, the state is also in a horrible budget crisis that aims direct hits at our schools,” said Rep. McCarty. “I will continue advocating for education funding to ensure that our children can continue participating in quality programs. I would absolutely hate to see our students suffer because a lack of resources degraded the instruction they have thrived with.”

“Last week I stood outside Pleasant Valley Elementary School in Groton with my fellow legislators and local officials and asked the Legislature to override the governor’s budget veto,” said Rep. France. “Pleasant Valley Elementary School is now closed; there are no students or teachers in their classrooms. The Groton Board of Education closed the school because they were financially no longer able to run their programs or support their students and staff. We cannot let this happen to more of our well-loved and high-performing schools like Oakdale. I will continue to keep my constituents updated on any new developments in Hartford.”